Monday, October 26, 2020

A Room of My Own: Rounding the Turn Tanka

One Hundred Twenty-Fifth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

the President claims
we're rounding the turn
at a snail's pace
a miles-long line of cars driving
past the food bank parking lot

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Cool Announcement: A Freebie, Prairie Interludes by Debbie Strange

My Dear Friends:

The award-winning e-book of haiku, Prairie Interludes, written by NeverEnding Story contributor, Debbie Strange, is now available to read free online.
Debbie Strange is an award-winning Canadian short form poet, haiga artist, and photographer. Keibooks released her second collection, Three-Part Harmony: Tanka Verses in 2018, and Folded Word published her haiku chapbook, A Year Unfolding, in 2017. An archive of publications may be accessed at her blog.
Selected Haiku: 
a wet spring
dark furrows seeded
with stars
boundary lines
every fence post topped
with a baseball cap

rusted rails
a meadowlark with the sun
in its throat

cloudless sky
a pelican’s pouch
full of light
harvesting night
an arc of moondust
from the auger
prize pumpkins
our hayrack buckles
with light

fog weaving
between fence posts
a coyote’s song

the humming of wind
in barbed wire
Happy Reading
Stay safe and well

Saturday, October 24, 2020

One Man's Maple Moon: Pumpkin Flower Buds Tanka by Kozue Uzawa

English Original

pumpkin flower buds
for salad
I think of Cinderella's
life after the wedding

Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, 3, 2011 

Kozue Uzawa
Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Kozue Uzawa is a retired university professor. She works as editor of the English tanka journal GUSTS. She composes tanka both in Japanese and English. She also translates Japanese tanka into English and co-published Ferris Wheel: 101 Modern and Contemporary Tanka (Boston: Cheng & Tsui, 2006), and Kaleidoscope: Selected Tanka of Shuji Terayama (Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 2008). Ferris Wheel received the 2007 Donald Keene Translation Award for Japanese Literature from Columbia University.

Butterfly Dream: Steady Rain Haiku by Jane Reichhold

English Original

a steady rain
the dentist’s drill
turning to snow

Frogpond, 9:1, 1986

Jane Reichhold

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch 
Jane Reichhold was born as Janet Styer in 1937 in Lima , Ohio , USA . She had published over thirty books of haiku, renga, tanka, and translations. Her latest tanka book, Taking Tanka Home was translated into Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Her most popular book is Basho The Complete Haiku by Kodansha International. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane also published Mirrors: International Haiku Forum, Geppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she had co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets since 1992. Lynx went online in 2000 in the web site Jane started in 1995. Since 2006 she had maintained an online forum – AHAforum

Friday, October 23, 2020

A Poet's Roving Thoughts: Haiku Invitational Interview with Chen-ou Liu

           Poetry is here, just here. Something wrestling with how we live... something honest.
           --  Dionne Brand
           It is not success or failure that matters but the struggle itself. The purpose of a 
           writing life is the struggle, and a haiku poet’s salvation is based upon how well
           he or she handles the struggle.
           -- Chen-ou Liu
(This online interview was conducted by Haiku Invitational committee member, Michael Dylan Welch)

blossom wind
my sick wife holds my hand

Top Winner, Canada, Haiku Invitational Winner 2020

MDW: Congratulations on having your haiku selected as the top winner in the Canada category in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s 2020 Haiku Invitational contest. How did you first learn about haiku, and how much writing of haiku or other poetry have you done?
COL: In 2009, with the aid of a newly acquainted poet friend, Brian Zimmer, I was exposed to the Japanese haiku, gendai [modern] haiku, and monostiches. Since then, I’ve studied and written haiku and related genres on a daily basis, and my poems have been published in print and online journals. In 2013, I started an English–Chinese haiku and tanka blog, editing, translating and publishing haiku, its related genres, reviews, and essays.
MDW: What was the inspiration for your winning poem?
COL: My haiku was inspired by an old Taiwanese movie scene. In it, a young couple walked out of a doctor’s office on a chilly morning. On their way home, they walked side by side, slowly and quietly. The background music of this poignant scene was their favorite song about cherry blossoms blooming on Mt. Yangming, Taipei.
MDW: Describe the moment when you first learned you had won.
COL: The moment when I first learned that my haiku had been chosen for the Best Canada category, I immediately phoned my mother, who lives in Taiwan.  She was happy for me, but her first question was, do you have enough face masks? The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted my March travel plans. My health and safety-related issues had been occupying my mother’s mind since the WHO pandemic declaration.
MDW: Do you have favourite books or websites relating to haiku that others might benefit from in order to learn haiku as a literary art and to share one’s haiku?

COL:Burton Watson’s Masaoka Shiki: Selected Poems gives me a glimpse into the suffering soul and prolific life of an innovative poet. Shiki’s three poetic principles—shasei (“sketching from life”), makoto (“truthfulness”), and everyday language—help me set my feet firmly on the ground. Haruo Shirane’s Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Bashō, establishes the ground for critical discussion and reading of Bashō’s poetry in the context of broader socio-cultural change. It helps me look beyond the haiku moment and debunk some modern haiku myths. Richard Gilbert’s Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese & English-language Haiku in Cross-cultural Perspectives creates a new poetic vocabulary for the haiku community to employ in analyzing how and why haiku work effectively, and it gives analytical categories and explanations for some innovative haiku that fall outside the juxtaposition/shasei realm.
MDW: Please tell us more about yourself.
COL: After more than ten years of struggling towards a new life vision and preparing for a major change in my field of study (computer science to cultural studies), in the summer of 2002 I emigrated to Canada to pursue a PhD and settled in Ajax, a suburb of Toronto. After arriving in Canada, I was frustrated by the lack of in-depth and wide-ranging classroom discussions, and most importantly, I was stressed by financial burden. I quit my studies and started to write essays in an adopted language, English. After two years of striving, I published three essays but got little attention from the scholars in those fields. Furthermore, I was disappointed by my inability to master English quickly. My pent-up emotions began spilling over onto pieces of scrap paper in the form of short poetry. The more I wrote, the more I thought about becoming a poet. Now, I’m a published poet and the editor and translator of NeverEnding Story
I write
at the gun-mouth
of time’s barrel . . .
I live for myself
by myself
MDW: How does where you live and what you enjoy doing affect the way you write haiku?
COL: I lives in Ajax, a suburb of Toronto. It’s just a five-minute drive to Lake Ontario where I spend most of my leisure time reflecting upon and responding to books, films, and socio-cultural events I’ve read, watched, or experienced. I resonate with this quotation from tanka poet Ishikawa Takuboku: “My mind, which was yearning after some indescribable thing from morning to night, could find an outlet to some extent only by making poems.” Like my favorite Canadian novelist and activist, Dionne Brand, I believe that “Poetry is here, just here. Something wrestling with how we live . . . something honest.” And I think that it is not success or failure that matters but the struggle itself. The purpose of a writing life is the struggle, and a haiku poet’s salvation is based upon how well he or she handles the struggle.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

One Man's Maple Moon: Saharan Dust Tanka by Janet Lynn Davis

English Original

Saharan dust
clouds my Texas sky
           strong winds
of uncertainty
sweep across the globe

Ribbons, 15:1, Winter 2019

Janet Lynn Davis

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Janet Lynn Davis began her tanka journey in late 2005. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous familiar journals and anthologies, and she also has served the tanka community in various capacities. Janet currently lives in a rustic area of southeast Texas, away from the hustle-bustle of the big city.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Butterfly Dream: Elephant Skull Haiku by Kokuu Andy McLellan

English Original

elephant skull
the looming shadow
of Kilimanjaro

The Mamba, March 2018

Kokuu Andy McLellan

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Kokuu Andy McLellan is a haiku poet and Soto Zen novice priest living in Canterbury, UK.  He spends a lot of time drinking tea and has three children and a PhD in plant biology.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Room of My Own: The most famous person in the world by far

One Hundred Twenty-Fourth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

"'Oh, no, I'm not. I'm the second,' I said. Then my guest leaned toward me and asked, 'Who's more famous?' I replied, (the President pauses for a moment, and a silence reigns over the amphitheater), 'Jesus Christ.'" 

In the North Carolina sunshine, this almost-totally barefaced crowd roars its approval as the President claps his hands, smiling.

piles of Jesus Saves
and Donald Trump Four More Years ...
new surge of cases

FYI: The Hill, October 15: Trump says only Jesus Christ more famous than him


a crescent moon
on the Chicago River ...
in blazing blue letters
over Trump on the Tower 

FYI: In 2014, the Trump Tower installed a huge "Trump" sign on its building that is located in the middle of a touristy attraction along the Chicago River.


for Kamala Harris 

a black woman
dances in a Florida downpour ...
rain or shine
democracy waits
for no one

FYI: The Indian Express, Oct. 20: Kamala Harris dances in the rain, Twitterati can’t have enough of it

Monday, October 19, 2020

Butterfly Dream: Dappled Light and Gun Haiku by Alan Summers

English Original

dappled light the glint of gun
Human/Kind Journal, 1:1, January 2019

Alan Summers

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Alan Summers is President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, and co-founder of Call of the Page. He enjoys watching classic episodes of Dr. Who, all over again, as his ten year old nephew has discovered them for himself. Website:

Sunday, October 18, 2020

One Man's Maple Moon: Autumn Leaves Tanka by Martha Magenta

English Original

another layer
of autumn leaves
on his grave
my memories
settle deeper

Eucalypt, 26, Spring 2019

Martha Magenta

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Martha Magenta lived in England, UK. Her haiku and tanka had appeared in a number of journals, and anthologies. She was awarded Honourable Mentions for her haiku in The Fifth Annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku  Awards, 2017, and in the 71st Basho Memorial English Haiku Contest, 2017, and for her tanka in UHTS  “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest 2017.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Butterfly Dream: Hilltop Abbey Haiku by Tim Gardiner

English Original

hilltop abbey
a midsummer mass
of fireflies

Acorn, 40, 2018

Tim Gardiner

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Dr Tim Gardiner is an ecologist, poet and children's author from Manningtree in Essex, UK. His haiku have been published  in literary magazines including Frogpond, Modern Haiku and The Heron's Nest. His first collection of haiku, On the Edge, was published by Brambleby Books in 2017 while his first haibun collection, The Flintknapper's Ghost, was released by Alba Publishing in 2018. 

Butterfly Dream: Small Talk by Jack Galmitz

English Original

crossing the porch
small talk

Applause Please, 2020

Jack Galmitz

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch
Jack Galmitz was born in NYC in 1951. He received a Ph.D in English from the University of Buffalo.  He is an Associate of the Haiku Foundation and Contributing Editor at Roadrunner.  His most recent books are Views (, 2012),  Letters (Lulu Press, 2012), yards & lots (Middle Island Press, 2012), not-zero-sum (Impress 2015) and Takeout (Impress, 2015).  He lives in New York with his wife and stepson.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Poetic Musings: Great Wall Haiku by Chen-ou Liu

both sides
of the Great Wall ...
summer grass

Honorable Mention, 23rd Mainichi Haiku Contest, 2019

Chen-ou Liu

Commentary by Leanne Mumford: The Great Wall has a long history that offers rich symbolism to readers familiar with Chinese culture ...there's the potential for a strong vertical axis 1 for certain readers. It's also likely well-known to many readers who aren't familiar with all the historical associations. It's a long structure, passing through different climatic regions of China, including quite arid areas.
The fragment, "summer grass," alludes to Basho's summer grasses/ all that's left/ of warriors' dreams (natsukusa ya/ tsuwamonodomo ga/ yume no ato) 2 from Okunohosomichi (Narrow Road to the Deep North) at Hiraizumi. I'm sure that Liu has used it intentionally, so I have to consider what elements of Basho's poem might be relevant - the dreams that weren't fulfilled, the soldiers' lives, the aftermath of battle...

I'm thinking that perhaps the connection between the two parts is that all the military efforts associated with the Great Wall in the end were fruitless. A lot of people died on both sides - defenders and invaders, and their various dreams, together with those of their commanders/leaders vanished. Now the Great Wall is a tourist attraction, and its history is somewhat forgotten. But this reading could be strongly coloured by my two tourist visits to the Great Wall sections close to Beijing quite some decades ago now.

A further consideration is that the leaders who ordered construction of the Great Wall have vanished into the mists of time, and their visions for the empire also. In the same way, eventually the current regime in China will disappear ... current leaders and their dreams will die. In the context of the situation in Hong Kong, and its implications for Taiwan, it's hard to avoid considering a political reading. It seems that the one country, two systems situation won't last, though how it will be resolved remains to be seen.

1 For more information about the importance of both the horizontal and vertical axis of meaning in quality haiku, see To the Lighthouse: Two-Axis Haiku -- See and Think beyond the "Haiku Moment"

2 For further discussion on Basho's haiku, see Poetic Musings: Summer Grass Haiku by Basho

Thursday, October 15, 2020

One Man's Maple Moon: Tea Tanka by Neal Whitman

English Original

two cups of tea
poured from a cast iron pot
are not the same --
into each you and I
stir our own memories
Eucalypt, 24, 2018

Neal Whitman

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

有不一樣的口感 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

有不一样的口感 --

Bio Sketch

Neal Whitman lives with his wife, Elaine, in Pacific Grove, California, where he is a docent at Point Pinos Lighthouse. Visitors who come there from near and far inspire him to write poetry that takes the “particular" to convey the “universal". Neal is Vice President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Room of My Own: Red Robes and White Bonnets Haiku

written in response to the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings
and for Margaret Atwood's Handmaids

protesters cloaked
in red robes and white bonnets ...
Supreme Court silhouette

Added: One Hundred Twenty-Third Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary
for my heroine, former Chicago teacher and activist Beatrice Lumpkin who voted for her first presidential candidate,Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1940 and hasn't missed a vote since.

the President claims
I'm immune from Covid-19 ...
woman in full PPE
casting a mail-in ballot 

FYI: Watch CTV's interview with Beatrice Lumpkin who explains why this year’s U.S. presidential election is the “the most important” vote of her lifetime.